A reporter pressed State Department spokesman Matt Miller Tuesday after Miller dodged a question about whether the U.S. government funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The tense exchange came during a press briefing when the reporter asked Miller, “How much money went from USAID to this, to the work at Wuhan and to the collaborator, Ralph Barrett at the University of North Carolina to collect and make coronaviruses that are weaponized, that are more deadly?” Republicans on the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) issued a report in October 2022 saying that the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic stemmed from a lab leak at the WIV.
MUST WATCH: Biden State Department spokesman Matt Miller freaks out on a reporter who asks how much taxpayer money has gone to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its collaborators.
Miller refuses to answer the question. pic.twitter.com/38CLcVl51z
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 12, 2023
“I, first of all, reject the implicit accusation in that question,” Miller responded.
The State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) flagged Twitter accounts that speculated that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic stemmed from a leak from a laboratory, according to documents provided to journalist Matt Taibbi. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who retired as chief medical advisor to President Biden in November, faced questions about the funding of so-called “gain of function” research at the WIV.
“What are you denying?” the reporter pressed as Miller began to call on another reporter. “It’s a non-denial denial.”
President Joe Biden signed legislation to declassify intelligence on COVID-19 origins on March 20. The Department of Energy and the FBI both stated that it was possible that COVID-19 emerged due to a leak from a laboratory, contradicting Fauci’s claims about the virus’s origin.
“You conspired with Peter Daszak, who you communicated with privately, and other members of the scientific community that wrote opinion pieces for Nature,” Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told Fauci during a January 2022 hearing during which he grilled Fauci over efforts to suppress the theory that COVID-19 leaked from the WIV. “17 signed a paper that called it conspiracy theory, the idea that the virus could’ve originated in the lab. Do you think words like ‘conspiracy theory’ should be in a scientific paper?”
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